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up next on a second look, marking the end of prohibition. how the ban on liquor brought bootleggers and speak easies to the bay area. plus the man who never knew his father and found out late in night that he died fighting the illegal liquor trade. good evening and welcome to a second look. i'm julie haener.
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this month marks the 80th anniversary of the end of the prohibition in the united states. for nearly eight years it was illegal to produce, sell or serve alcohol. the repeal took effect 10 days later on december 15th. and as this newsreel from the times tells us an entire industry that had been under ground for more than a decade was able to go legit again. >> with an eye on december 5th, work is being rushed at distilleries. thousands are being called back to work in allied industries. at least 500,000 new jobs are predicted as a result of repeal. from keg and barrel factors, close the more closely allied lines, repeal ex expands.
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the lid is off with the end of prohibition being celebrated. yes by the renewal, hotels and nightclubs report a real prewar spirit among those revelers. boy. there'll be no more scenes such as this. barrel after barrel of destruction by agents. it's going to be a cold winter for the barrel busters. >> so what was prohibition like here in the bay area? that's the question ktvu's bob mackenzie set out to answer in this report in 2001. >> in 1920 prohibition became the law of the land. the sale and manufacture of alcohol that tool of the devil was forbidden in every state. that same year the democrats came to san francisco to
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nominate cops in roseville and the city provided every amenity for the visitors including a truckload of booze. it was the first look that san francisco was not going to take prohibition seriously. the prohibition was taking it seriously indeed. revenue agents found illegal liquor and to the horror of liquors everywhere wasted the stuff. >> now being destroyed under court order, go to it boys. >> reporter: in san francisco, and other cities the feds smashed into barrels of wine, beer, whisky and gin. sometimes providing a brief bonanza for hard drinkers along the sidewalks. in san francisco, an infamously easy going town, speak easies, bars that provided liquor to anyone who knew the right password or right number of knocks on the door flourished
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all over the city more or less unmolested. this place no a steak house and once a restaurant was before that the fillosopher. fill, a speak easy. the very people charged with enforcing the law would gather here for lunch and likely as not toss back a couple of drinks. the federal government was not amused by such flagrant flabbing of the law. a call went out for 3,000 new treasury agents. applicants had to provide a photo in which they tried to provide an imagine of rectitude. the smart ones wrote, the prohibition law should be strictly enforced. >> looks like hard times for
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smugglers. >> reporter: the coast guard got in the act. as rum runners began smuggling in booze from canada where it was still legal. as long as the whisky runs shipping stayed outside of the territorial limits the coast guard could not stop them. the coast guard couldn't catch them. one such outlaw captain was jack hale. a san franciscan who's fast boats ran out the coast guard time after time. hale's daughter married and he heard many storys from his father-in-law. >> as he reduced the throttle
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the lights would dim with the coast guard chaising him. when the lights went out the coast guard would think that he had outrun them. it was a way he would be sitting there and they would run by him and he would go back inside. and dump his load. >> reporter: like other rum runners, jack thought of himself more of a rum runner than a crook. >> it was profitable. you would dubbed with cash and my father-in-law always had $10,000 in his pocket. and that was a lot of money in the 20s. >> reporter: one way a lot of illegal booze found its way throughout the city was through the under ground tunnels that still lie under many of the streets. a waiter here at the palace hotel would take an order, bring along an empty fruit jar. run through the tunnel, knock on the basement door of the house of shields and get this
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jar filled with gin. charlie crosgard took me to the distillery his uncle used to run. >> this is the door with the original peephole. so when the customers came from the palace hotel they actually knocked on the door and that allowed the customers into this room. >> reporter: charlie gave me a look at the underground tunnel system. >> it is a solid piece of metal here that not a bullet could go through. this is all solid brick. nobody could penetrate it. there's a series of these doors that went all the way down to second street, down to howard and connected to first street. still to come on a second look we continue bob mackenzie's report on prohibition in the bay area. find out why al capone never made any roads into the speak easies of the 50s.
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welcome back to a second look. tonight marking the 80th anniversary of the end of prohibition. bob mackenzie brought us an extended look back at prohibition and how it played out here in the area. here's part two of his report. prohibition became law in 1920. but you might not have noticed in san francisco. where bootlegging operations took up most of the warehouse space. from vallejo to san leandro to daily city, almost every -- and whooping it off was all the most festive for being forgiven. prohibition soon turned ugly as the illegal liquor trade was taken over by gangsters most
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notoriously al capone. who's base was chicago but who's power covered many areas. the tommy gun was the favorite. it wasn't very accurate at long range but gang land shootties happened to be close up and personal. when this began to be perceive as a gangsters weapon it led to the first gun control legislation. today you and i can't own one of these which is probably a good thing. >> reporter: oddly mobsters never got a hold of the liquor trade in san francisco. at la rocas at north beach the former owner vince laroca told me why. it seems that al capone came to
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san francisco looking at the possibility of doing business here. la roca's grandfather and other italian gentlemen met him at the airport and explained to him that he would not be happy here. capone took the next plane out. >> we took care of our own. we didn't want anybody coming here and interrupting the nice people that we had going on. >> reporter: as many east bay attitude, it was seen as neglect. >> i don't think they saw it that way. breaking the law. it was doing a little service. we weren't breaking anything. >> reporter: lewis j.fatiano who has spent most of his 91 years in p wine business remembers sitting sadly by the side of the road as a teenager watching his family pour a whole season's crop of wine into a ditch because the law
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wouldn't let them sell it. >> what does that feel like to take 100,000-gallons of wine and dump it into the ditch? >> well, it didn't feel very good. but what are you going to do with it? it wasn't worth anything so we got rid of it. >> reporter: they survived prohibition by growing their own food and selling grapes to neighbors. many wine makers found their way around the law. they couldn't sell wine but they could sell grape juice. if that juice was later made into win -- wine that wasn't their fault was it. often with warnings that read keep that product refrigerated. if allowed to stay warm, it will ferment. another way to make money was making juice bricks. to be used later. >> reporter: a reporter says a
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sales clerk sold him a brick. you soak the brick in a gallon of water. do not then pour it into this jug and store it in a warm place for 21 days. because then it would turn into wine. >> there was a lot going on those days. around here there was a lot of stills you know too. >> back in around here? >> this place was water in these hills out here there was a still. >> reporter: a good outdoor still could turn out 50-gallons of moon shine at a time. of course, there was always the risk of a raid by federal agents. but if the hooch makers had a good relationship with the offers they often got a warning. the law was repealed in 1933 and drinking was legal again. san francisco hardly noticed the difference. >> reporter: san francisco never seemed to take prohibition seriously.
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>> this is a great town. when we come back on a second look what it was like to grow up in san francisco's mission district during prohibition. a bit later a man who never knew his father find out he was a hero.
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tonight on a second look, the prohibition era in 2000, bob mackenzie met a man who grew up in san francisco in the 1920s. and told bob that the question in san francisco in those days wasn't where you could get a drink but where you couldn't. >> reporter: san francisco's mission district had such a pronounced south of the border flavor that you might imagine it has always been a latino neighborhood. but before the south americans, the mexicans and the central americans came, the mission was a gathering place and staging area for another group of immigrants. the irish. when frank quinn grew up here
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there were a few italian families, a few scots but the rest of the people were irish. salons served irish whisky. >> all the irish families are gone and moved some where else. >> absolutely. >> reporter: when he was a child getting a catholic education and the roaring -- everyone seems to have a job and the stock market was creating a whole new class of millionaires. these were the days of prohibition. that 13 year period when a constitutional amendment made alcoholic drinks illegal. of course the law was widely ignored. perhaps nowhere as openly as in the mission district. frank quinn remembers when someone asked his uncle where he could get a drink in the neighborhood. >> my uncle said to him.
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do you know where the funeral parlor is down in the block. he said yes, he said well that's the only place here where you can't get a drink. >> reporter: we looked at a building that was once a speak easy or as it was called a blind pig. >> if you wanted to get into one of these places they were illegal. how did you get in? >> you would just walk in. >> reporter: you didn't have to have a special password. >> no, and the policemen -- >> reporter: how did you know you weren't a cop? >> they didn't because the police were part of it. >> reporter: by the time tim finished high school the fun was over. san francisco along with the rest of the country was sunk in a frightening depression. the economic bubble had burst and taken millions of the jobs with it. men who had been proud of their independence stood in line to beg for jobs and stood in other lines to get a free bowl of soup and piece of bread. >> i think it was the worse catastrophe i've ever seen in
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my life. that includes two shakes at war that i was in. you just couldn't find anything to do. >> we kids would go out and we would be looking for a job. but they were laying off three, they were laying off five. >> reporter: men who were turned off for jobs over and over began to feel there was something wrong for them. the suicide rate multiplied. >> there was a man, he would play cards upstairs all the time. well the center went up to get him one day for lunch and he was hanging from one of the rafters. absolute dispair i guess. >> reporter: frank remembers when franklin roosevelt began president. frank remembers fdrs voice on the radio. >> he talked every sunday night. if you were listening to it and looked out the window you wouldn't see anybody. the streets would be clean of
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pedestrians. he would begin with a very warm -- my friend. and he would warm up very quickly. he was a wonderful man. >> as fdrstarted the economy again, he saw action in the pacific. when the war was over he married his neighborhood sweetheart and they are still married today. is there optimism of the new century. >> if you look back in history there's those who have a dreadful look of things. but things always pan out some way. >> reporter: people say you are old when you stop accepting change. by that measure, frank isn't old yet. we'll tell you the role alcatraz prison played against
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the gangsters who ran the booze trade.
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tonight on a second look we're taking a look back at the prohibition years. and we met a man who never knew his father and found out that his father had been a police officer during the prohibition age. >> reporter: he has a house he bought for $11,000 but something has bothered el mamola all his life -- ed mamola. he and his brother had known nothing about their father only that he died when they were
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young. their mother was able to support them but never spoke of their father. >> she was scared, she was scared the mobsters were going to come and get her. >> reporter: ed had come by the story of edward mamola. nelson and the mamola's went to the cemetery and walked to the grave of ed's father. >> it's nice when you get a nice ending. >> reporter: the story the sergeant told them was this. mamola was a constable during the years of prohibition. >> go to it boys. >> reporter: joining in the war was an up and coming alameda county district attorney warren who would one day become chief justice of the supreme court. warren also enlisted
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trustworthy officers including mamola. in revenge for bootleggers ambush constable mamola in richmond beat him and shot him with his own gun. now edward knows who his father was an honest cop who did his job and who died trying to fight off four thugs. >> it was a blessing when he came down here. because i learned the truth about the whole story. >> as the u.s. government waged an all out war on the gangsters who ran the illegal liquor trade, some of them would end up in federal prison and eventually a few of them would be sent to the national's newest and most forbidding prison, alcatraz. bob mackenzie brought us this look back at the island prison and the men who served time there. >> alcatraz from its beginning as a prison in 1934 was rightly called the rock. a place designed to isolate and punish. to grind men down. to provide what people in the
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system called hard time. and the men who did the time were hard cases. armed robbers, gangsters, killers. men such as machine gun kelly, arbin carpas. al capon. this is d block, the isolation wing of alcatraz. just imagine being in one of these cells 24 hours a day, fed three times a day through a slot in the door. no books, no magazines, no radio. all your mail heavily censored. no contact with the outside world and if you were here between 1934 and 1937 you weren't even allowed to talk. what made the time harder was that san francisco was tantalizingly near. convicts could smell the chocolate being made at giradelli's. the coffee being ground at hill brothers. at night they could see the lights of the city. >> i remember the first time i looked out was at nighttime. i could see the light, i could
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see reflect. i could see the cars going by. and knowing that car there was a human being there. i said this guy doesn't even know that i'm looking at this particular car. and it was just like i didn't exist. and i never looked out again. >> reporter: leon whitey thompson got out of alcatraz in 1962. >> i deserved to be sent to alcatraz. i deserved to be send here for the type of person i was. i wasn't a nice person. >> reporter: when prohibition brought a wave of crime. they picked alcatraz as a place designed for punishment not rehabilitation. a lock up for the most dangerous men in the system. >> let's say you're a prisoner on alcatraz. and let's say you stepped on my toes. i'm going to put you away. i'm going to waste you. i'm not going -- i'm going to
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waste you. it won't end in a simple fight. it's going to end in death. >> reporter: they're hoping alcatraz will end in the 20th century as a very popular tourist attraction. and that's it for this week's second look. i'm julie haener, thank you for watching.
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robert: once, the inca empire ruled this land. then the spanish came and conquered. today when you visit, you can almost see and hear this history echoing through the halls of time. join us, as we take a journey to the past and present of ecuador. (spanish music playing) travel! for some, it's a luxurious escape, or maybe an adrenaline filled adventure. but if you're like me, it's a precious opportunity to discover and to give back. it's time to get real. it's time to get raw. it's time for raw travel!

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Second Look
FOX December 1, 2013 11:00pm-11:31pm PST

News/Business. Highlights of past news stories. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Bob Mackenzie 5, Julie Haener 2, Warren 2, Mamola 2, Frank Quinn 2, Charlie 1, Vince Laroca 1, La Roca 1, Chaising 1, Jack 1, Lewis J. Fatiano 1, Jack Hale 1, Charlie Crosgard 1, Franklin Roosevelt 1, Looking 1, New Treasury 1, Rocas 1, Vallejo 1, San Leandro 1, Ktvu 1
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Duration 00:31:00
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